Prepare for summer cycling10 June, 2014 0 comments
Prepare For Summer Cycling
Summer is on our doorsteps folks! This year, make sure you're prepared to make the most of our legendary short burst of warm weather. You know how it is - the kids break up, or you have a few weeks off work, and before you've had time to blink, it's all over for another year and cold again.
By making sure your bike is in top form, and by planning ahead, you'll save time in the long run, and will be better able to take advantage of the long, sunny days and light nights.
Give Your Bike Some TLC
The most important thing about getting ready for summer cycling is giving your bike a thorough check-over. The last thing you want to happen is to be out on the most glorious day of the year, and find your brakes aren't working properly, or your tyres are quickly going soft.
To Do List:
- Make sure the fit of your bike is right. Check the saddle height and position of the handlebars. Kids? Do the same for their bikes too.
- Check your tyres for rips or tears and top up the air pressure.
- Check the gears and adjust if necessary.
- Check the brake system. Pull the brake levers and let go. They should snap right back. Not working properly? Replace before riding.
- Clean everything: frame, chain, chain rings, derailleurs, pedals, cassette, brakes and the seat. When cleaning use as little water as possible.
- Lubricate the chain, brake arms, brake levers, cables, rear derailleur, front mech and jockey wheel.
- Spin both wheels. They should spin freely without wobbling and shouldn't come into contact with the brake pads.
- Let your bike fall from about 5 inches off the ground. If something rattles, you have loose parts.
- Give your bike a check over before every ride.
Get Friends Involved
Cycling with friends is a fun way to stay in touch and in shape. However, it can be difficult to get people motivated. But you can have a positive impact with your motivation. Remind them cycling is a great way to boost your mood and keep the weight off. Here are a few things to mention to friends who just want to sleep in the sun with a cold drink in each hand.
Great Reasons To Cycle:
- You'll live longer
- You'll be helping the planet
- You may find your sex life improves
- It's an excellent way to burn fat
- You'll sleep deeper
When you manage to organise a ride - be it a few miles with a pub visit at the end, or a weekend trip to the Scottish Highlands - keep in regular contact with your friends, reminding them of what's coming up, and share suggestions about cafes your could visit or viewpoints you could check out. Perhaps organise a day where you all get your bikes ready together. Heaven knows it's more fun cleaning if there's more than one of you!
Organise Your Cycling Wear
You don't want to be raking through your wardrobe on a sunny morning, trying to find something suitable to cycle in, so organise! The best clothes for summer cycling are made from lightweight, natural fibres. Keep them in a separate drawer from your other clothes so you can grab and go.
- Well ventilated helmet
- A bandana to stop sweat running into your eyes
- Snug cycling shorts
- Light, breathable, waterproof jacket
- Sleeveless base layer
- 100% cotton ankle socks
- Leather, fingerless gloves with palm pads
- Good quality sunglasses
Choosing The Best Bag
There's a lot of debate about the best equipment to use to carry your bits and pieces. Some people swear by backpacks, while others wouldn't dream of using anything else but a pannier. At the end of the day, it's down to personal choice.
- Good for short rides and commuting
- Great for off-roading
- Doesn't add weight to the bike
- Can be used for other activities
- The weight in your backpack could affect your balance on the bike
- It could affect your vision
- Sweaty back after your ride
- Great for rides over an hour in length
- The weight will be on your bike so no back pain
- Easier to retrieve things from
- Adds weight to the bike and can cause drag
- Not advisable when going off-road
- More expensive than a backpack
- Only usable when cycling
- Can only be used if your bike is made for them
Plan Some Good Routes
Get everyone excited about summer cycling and plan some exhilarating routes! Mark planned dates on a calendar, and if you have kids, have them tick off the days. The UK has miles of stunning coastal and countryside scenery, and the best way to enjoy it is on two wheels.
Tips For A Great Trip:
- Pick your destination. You need to know where you're going, the route you'll take and how you're going to get home. Don't leave anything to chance. Getting lost isn't fun.
- Make sure all of the bikes are in good form and ready to go in advance.
- Before you leave, go over ground rules for less stress on the ride.
- Pack smart. Make a list in advance and ensure you have crucial items such as high energy food, water, sunscreen, first aid kit, mobile phone and a bicycle repair kit.
- Ensure your route involves cycle paths and traffic-free routes. If you do have to use roads, ensure they're quiet or have a low-speed limit.
- Start and finish at a family friendly facility, for example a woodland park or cafe.
- Plan stops along the way for toilet breaks and nourishment.
- Bring along a map so you can mark off the mileage. Good for impressing the kids too.
- Create memories along the way.